So while I’ve been talking a lot about GW2 this week, the truth is, over the weekend I mostly played No Man’s Sky’s newest 1.3 patch – Atlas Rises. This marks the game’s first year anniversary and it’s still on sale for $24 on Steam right now if any of this catches your interest.
This patch was really an incredible leap forward for NMS. Much of the community now feels that the game is finally at a point where it is what it was originally advertised to be. Yes, it’s bad this wasn’t out at launch. BUT – the devs didn’t abandon the game, and kept working until it was in a much better shape.
Now we have so much, from base building, rovers, low flight on ships, missions, farming, a new economy and trading system, and a brand new storyline. Really, there’s too much to list…
Oh, and yeah. The sorta-multiplayer was added, which really excited players. It’s very rudimentary, but it’s a foundation for something more, I hope.
Changes in the Universe
The universe was also restructured because many new and unusual biomes were added to the planets. This meant that your home base planet may have changed, for better or worse.
I did start to build a base during the last patch, but didn’t get super far with it. When I left the world, it was this pinky-purple planet, which was kinda pretty.
When I returned to my base planet, it had all turned green instead. Which is also kinda pretty.
Thankfully, this was a positive change. I’ve read a lot of people who had a great home base planet that turned into snow or toxic waste biome. So, I can’t complain too much.
The one thing that did eat up a lot of my time was trying to troubleshoot the game’s texture loading issues. The last time I played the game, I was using my old Nvidia graphics card. Since then, I upgraded to a much more powerful AMD card.
I’d forgotten the posts that said NMS had issues with AMD cards. And, well, mine had issues loading the textures that I never had on the previous card. The game played well enough, but all the textures were on low quality, no matter what setting I put the graphics on.
I’d played the game enough to recognize this was NOT how it was supposed to look:
Everything from the grass to the texture on the rocks to the building… yeah.
So I updated my drivers as a first step, and this actually cleared it up long enough to get those comparison pictures above. But after playing a bit, warping around, maybe turning the game off and back on again, it went right back to being blurry.
I started doing research.
Someone suggested a complete driver cleaning and uninstall/reinstall from a manual download. I did this, and again, it helped for a little while.
I went through several suggestions on the Tech Support forum. I got it to work partways, but still not 100% of the textures load. I may go back and mess with some of these settings again, but I eventually just gave up and played with mostly-loading textures.
It was better than none.
So, there’s a new storyline. It’s not super captivating or anything — mostly the story of an alien who has crashed and is stranded. You have to help them out.
But what the storyline does fill is the huge blank where a tutorial or guidance system was missing. In fact, it feels a lot like a tutorial, which is there to introduce the player to all the different features of the game.
It teaches you to build signal beacons, how to find specific locations, how to earn reputation, how to learn language, and (at this point for me) how to find the new mission feature. Eventually, I heard it prompts you to build a base (which gets bugged out if you happen to move your base’s original location, so be careful!).
The game’s writing uses the illusion of mystery and grandiose language to try to make the story feel bigger than it actually is (a tutorial). It does cover this well, but the reality is, it’s just sending you on a bunch of menial tasks.
This is fine. I wish the story was a bit deeper than just a story masking a tutorial. But it’s better than nothing, and players seem to like it. I’m going along for the ride since it’s been so long since I’ve played that I don’t know most of what I’m doing anyhow. XD
It’s nice to have a mission-oriented journal type thing that helps you keep track of where you are and what you need to do, too. This might have been patched in back when bases were introduced, but it’s not until now that I actually started to rely on it consistently.
The community has really rallied behind NMS after this update. Heck, even before this update, this game had a very dedicated group of players who even worked to create a whole Galactic Hub in order to meet up and map a common system. This is very, very cool, and you should check it out!
Even better, the recent Steam review ratings have gone from Mostly Negative to Mostly Positive as players give recognition where it’s due. There will always be haters, of course, but even I tossed in a positive review for the game (I rarely write game reviews on Steam) because I’m impressed by the dedication of the dev team.
Despite the technical difficulties I’ve had, I also had great fun playing over the weekend, and hope that I can maintain a momentum to actually build my base this time around. I found this really cool crashed ship — I discovered it was a Hauler — that took me from 19 slots to something like 32 in one shot. (I wish I had a screen of it.)
I still have to raise the money to actually unlock the slots on the ship, but I was so stoked to repair it and get it flying. It might be a good introduction into learning how to haul and trade materials between systems. Maybe?
I’ll have to find out!